Phoenix Suns v Golden State Warriors

Andre Iguodala out at least a week and a half, Andrew Bogut one game


Andre Iguodala has helped turn the Golden State Warriors from a dangerous lower seed into a legitimate championship contender.

At 42-26, the Warriors are at least on pace for their best record since 1992. Their defense has reached unprecedented levels in Oakland, and their offense is full of talent.

Iguodala is central to both sides of the court for Golden State, so this is a pretty concerning setback.

The Warriors can probably survive their next two games, vs. Orlando tonight and vs. Milwaukee on Thursday, without Iguodala. The third game, vs. San Antonio, will be much more challenging.

They’re just a different team when Iguodala plays.

Iguodala on:

  • Offensive rating: 109.4
  • Defensive rating: 96.2
  • Net rating: +13.1

Iguodala off:

  • Offensive rating: 98.4
  • Defensive rating: 103.6
  • Net rating: -5.2

Part of the discrepancy is due to Iguodala playing so much – 55 percent of his minutes – with Golden State’s other starters (Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Davie Lee and Andrew Bogut). That lineup has been the most productive of the NBA’s 38 most-used lineups.

  • Offensive rating: 112.2
  • Defensive rating: 97.1
  • Net rating: +15.2

Harrison Barnes will replace Iguodala in the starting lineup, and despite his powerful name recognition and remaining potential, Barnes just isn’t having a strong year. That shows in his lack of chemistry when playing with Curry, Thompson, Lee and Bogut. With Barnes replacing Iguodala, that lineup is considerably worse on both sides of the ball:

  • Offensive rating: 97.1
  • Defensive rating: 104.5
  • Net rating: -7.3

At least Golden State has five days off following this three-game stretch. That could give Iguodala a chance to heal.

If only the Warriors’ problems ended there, though.

Andrew Bogut is also out against the Magic tonight.

When Iguodala and Bogut, the Warriors’ top two defenders, are off the court, they allow 106.8 points per 100 possessions, according to nbawowy. For reference, that falls to 102.0 for Golden State overall this season and 98.8 when both play.

Fortunately for the Warriors, the anemic Magic offense probably can’t take advantage (even if Orlando has won six of seven at Golden State).

If this is just the Warriors being precautious during a long season, that makes sense. They’re 3.5 games behind Houston for homecourt advantage in the first round of the playoffs and 3.5 games ahead of Phoenix for the final postseason spot. This is the right time to rest players, especially considering the lengthy break after the Spurs game would give Iguodala a long stretch to recharge his batteries.

But if these injuries, especially the more-serious-sounding Iguodala’s, are more significant, they could pose major setbacks for Golden State’s title aspirations.

Warriors first team favored over the field for championship entering season since Michael Jordan’s Bulls

7 Jun 1998:  Michael Jordan #23 of the Chicago Bulls walks on the court during the NBA Finals Game 3 against the Utah Jazz at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois.  The Bulls defeated the Jazz 96-54. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Daniel  /Allsport
Credit: Jonathan Daniel /Allsport
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When asked my prediction for the 2017 NBA champion, I say the Warriors have about a 50-50 chance. Some call that a copout answer – but it’s really not.

For a team to have even odds against 29 others combined entering the season is extraordinary.

Just how rare is it?

David Purdum of ESPN:

Jeff Sherman, head NBA oddsmaker at the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas, remembers the 1997-98 Bulls team, which was coming off a 72-win season, being around a minus-125 title favorite entering that season.

But Sherman and other sports betting industry veterans struggled to recall another team — in basketball, baseball or football — that was an odds-on favorite to start the season.

Michael Jordan, Dennis Rodman and Scottie Pippen led Chicago to the championship in 1998 (which was actually two seasons removed from the 72-win year).

Will Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson also meet their oversized expectations and deliver a title this year?

Flip a coin.

Report: Minnesota still talking Tyus Jones trade, Sixers may have interest

TARRYTOWN, NY - AUGUST 08:  Tyus Jones #1 of the Minnesota Timberwolves poses for a portrait during the 2015 NBA rookie photo shoot on August 8, 2015 at the Madison Square Garden Training Facility in Tarrytown, New York. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.   (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

Tyus Jones has a lot to like — he’s a point guard who makes good decisions, his shot is developing (40 percent from three at Summer League), and he’s got skills. Minnesota won the Summer League championship because of Jones’ leadership — just drafted and highly touted Kris Dunn was out for the title game, that’s where Jones shined.

But Dunn is the future at the point in Minnesota, and Ricky Rubio is still there. So Minnesota is seeing what might be out there for Jones, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

Minnesota has had talks with Philadelphia, New Orleans, and others about Jones for a while.

Jones is likely a steady backup point guard at the NBA level — he’s a smart passer, knows how to run a team, and as his shot develops he becomes more dangerous. His downside is defense, but as a reserve that’s less of an issue.

For a team like the Sixers — without Jerryd Bayless to start the season — or while New Orleans waits for Jrue Holiday‘s return, Jones makes some sense. The only question is the price going back to Minnesota.

Report: Bucks preparing for Greg Monroe to opt in next summer

Milwaukee Bucks center Greg Monroe, center, drives to the basket against New Orleans Pelicans center Alexis Ajinca, left, and guard Tyreke Evans, right, during the first half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Jonathan Bachman)
AP Photo/Jonathan Bachman
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The Bucks got a rude awakening about Greg Monroe‘s value when they tried to sell low on him this offseason – and still got no takers.

Now, Milwaukee seems to have gotten the picture. Monroe – whose agent claimed the center could name his contract terms from multiple teams last year – might opt into the final year of his deal, which would pay $17,884,176.

Zach Lowe of ESPN:

Milwaukee is already preparing for the possibility Monroe opts into his deal for 2017-18, league sources say.

The Bucks indicated this thinking when they extended Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s contract, putting a large 2017-18 salary rather than a relatively low cap hold on the books to begin next offseason. If Monroe opts in, the difference in Antetokounmpo’s initial cap number is far less likely to matter. (Though Antetokounmpo’s extension wasn’t a complete giveaway into Milwaukee’s Monroe expectation, because the Bucks saved over the life of the extension.)

Don’t put it past Monroe to opt out if he believes he can find a better situation. After all, he signed the small qualifying offer to leave a tough basketball fit with Andre Drummond in Detroit. Monroe also took the risk of a shorter detail in Milwaukee. He’s secure enough in himself to at least consider moving on if he’s unhappy.

It’s also possible he finds a satisfying role with the Bucks. They’ll bring him off the bench, which could hide his defensive shortcomings and give him a chance to mash backup bigs. Heck, he could even play well enough to justify opting out.

There’s still a full season before Monroe must decide on his option, and a lot can change by then. But it seems Milwaukee now has a realistic expectation.

Report: NBA increases 2017-18 salary-cap projection to $103 million

AP Money Found

The NBA is reportedly closing in on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, and the new deal will still call for owners and players to split Basketball Related Income about 50-50.

So, July’s projection of a $102 million salary cap in 2017-18 still carries weight – except it’s been updated.

Brian Windhorst of ESPN:

Why the change?

Perhaps, the shortfall adjustment – which increases the cap when teams don’t spend enough the previous year – is being revised in the new CBA.

More likely, the league anticipates more revenue. These projections tend to start conservative then rise as July nears.